Three years later, and “I Am Alive”

This month marks three years since my brother ended his life. It has been a rough journey, to say the least, but my parents and I have survived – living each day in honor of Evan.

Here are some things that I have found helpful to heal over the past few years, including:

  • Rest (lots and lots of rest), because grief takes an insurmountable toll on your mind and body.
  • Patience towards yourself and your family, because each person grieves differently and you are not the same person as you were before.
  • Professional help, in its many different forms like therapy and medication.

Finally, this poem below has helped me navigate the path ahead. It lit a fire in me and has influenced everything I do today in my brother’s memory.

I Am Alive

I may have lost my brother, my sister, my parent, my child, my friend, my spouse, my partner
but I am alive.

I am a survivor of the dark night of unspeakable loss,
of my own darkness…
and I am alive.

I am unwilling to stand idly by and allow shame to defeat love or silence to defeat action.
I stand for the enlightenment of a society that would hide from suicide
and I am alive.

I am unwilling for my perseverance to be in vain.
Unwilling for the passing of my loved one to be in shame.
I loved them more then I loved myself and their life will have meaning in my action.

I am alive.

In a world blinded by the pursuit of pleasure, I am here to say that people are in pain.
In a world rushing to get ahead, I am here to say that people are being left behind.
In a world obsessed with the value of the market, I am here to speak for the value of life
and I am alive.

This will be no quiet fight.
I am the voice of audacity in the face of apathy.
I am the spirit of bravery in a world of caution.
I am a commitment of action in the face of neutrality.

I am out of the darkness…
I am into the light and I am alive.

(author anonymous)

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  1. You and Evan, and Mama and Papa S are an inspiration to me every single day. Thank you for continuing to share your journey as you continually strive to help others. Smooches.

    • Okay…I think I need to come up with another comment on here, as I seem to say the same stuff over and over. But I don’t know how else to say that your actions make things happen.

      So, I’d like to elaborate, at the risk of sounding like a broken record in my comments. Your medical and scientific based research, coupled with your personal passion, is truly creating a wonderful place on the internet, for others, like Evan, who are struggling with suicide; or like you, a sister; or, like me, a naieve person. Your blog speaks to all these people, and more. Which, even though I say it all the time, is an inspiration.

        • Erin
        • February 22, 2013
        • Reply

        Rach – your support means more than you know! Thank you for helping me make this blog happen. Here’s to strong women! 🙂

    • Lori Schwantner
    • February 21, 2013
    • Reply

    Well said Erin! I know Evan would be proud of all the work you do in helping others. Beautiful poem too, thanks for sharing. I love you.

      • Erin
      • February 22, 2013
      • Reply

      Thanks Mom, love you too! You are amazing!

    • Kim Burditt
    • April 11, 2013
    • Reply

    Erin, I just discovered your site today. My brother Jon died by suicide three years ago 4/21. I too have found a new fire, a new purpose for my life (ridiculously blessed that it’s in the form of a paying job, too), although we’d give it all back in a flash if we could, huh? Thank you for being a voice, for being brave enough to speak. I’m standing strong with you. In honor of Evan, in honor of Jon, in honor of them all.

      • Erin
      • April 12, 2013
      • Reply

      Hi Kim, So glad you have found this to be a good resource – though sorry for what we hold in common. As the poem says “Unwilling for the passing of my loved one to be in shame,” we are both working to honor them and save lives in their memory. Thinking of you and of John as the anniversary gets closer, and hoping memories of him bring you some comfort. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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